Understanding Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that can be transmitted to humans, dogs, and all types of other animals. Once in the bloodstream the bacteria can be extremely dangerous to your furry friend, traveling to different parts of the body and causing specific problems related to those areas. By staying informed on the topic you could potentially be saving your pup from a serious and deadly disease.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease to look out for

Lyme Disease is, unfortunately, a pretty common canine disease contracted from tick bites. Common symptoms a dog with Lyme disease would display is a fever, loss of appetite, lack of energy, visible body stiffness and discomfort, and joint swelling. These symptoms can quickly lead to kidney failure, which can be fatal, so it’s important to know the signs and take them seriously.

How can your dog be tested for Lyme Disease

If you suspect your pup may have contracted Lyme Disease you should head to your nearest veterinarian as soon as possible. There your vet will perform a variety of blood tests to check for the virus and exam your canine companion for any of the common symptoms we listed above. There are two types of blood tests a vet may perform one is an antibody test, which if positive confirms your dog was exposed to the bacterium. The only problem is that test usually won’t detect a dog who has recently been exposed, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, a dog who has been infected for awhile may no longer have enough antibodies for the test to detect them. The second type of test is a specific DNA test that can confirm the presence of the bacterium, but false-negatives can also occur in this case if your dog only has the infection in a specific area and those blood cells were not used.

How Lyme disease is treated in dogs

Treatment is usually pretty simple and administrated through antibiotics taken over several weeks. If the disease was severe, more extensive treatment may be necessary, such as physical therapy or more aggressive medicine.

How to prevent your dog from getting Lyme Disease

Since Lyme Disease is contracted through tick bites, you should inspect your dog for any after walks in grassy or wooded areas. Common areas to check are their toes, lips, eyes, ears, and under their tail. The quicker a tick is removed, the less likely your dog is to contract any sort of disease, which is why it is essential to make these inspections frequent and often. At your scheduled veterinary exams ask your vet to check as well, in case you may have missed any of the bugs in the past. You can also vaccinate your pup; some vaccinations are not for all dogs though so this would be an important conversation to discuss with your vet.

As a dog owner you want to keep your pup as safe as possible. Staying informed on potential risks such as Lyme Disease will help you do so.

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